'The market is in a crazy spot right now,' auto dealers say

Inflation is hitting the new and used car market hard.

The average transaction price for a new vehicle in October rose 12.9% year over year, according to Kelley Blue Book.

"We’ve got a massive chip shortage going on which is creating a shortage of new cars which in turn is creating a shortage of used cars which means, the people that have those nice cars that they would want to trade in are holding on to them, which means the value of that’s out there is going up and up and up," said A.J. Stathas, the co-owner of Cars Unlimited on West Fletcher Ave.

It is causing auto dealership lots across Tampa to look bare.

"The challenges that brings is one, getting inventory, and two, on top of that, getting consumers to purchase that inventory," Stathas said. "As far as things go for pick-up trucks, look at the F-250s for example, there’s zero out there, nobody has any and the prices have skyrocketed, I’m watching vehicles that people are trading in, that I’m paying them more than what they purchased it for four and five years ago."

Stathas and his father own the dealership together and usually buy vehicles at auctions.  But the supply shortage is forcing them to step out of the box in order to fill inventory.

Economists say they anticipate auto sale prices to level out or improve around springtime, as production lines start to operate normally again.

Toyota said last week it plans to accelerate its new vehicle production in December.